Mar 20, 2024 - Politics

Illinois Democrats carry on Election Day tradition at Manny's Deli

Photo of a woman eating lunch
City Treasurer and 7th Congressional District candidate Melissa Conyears-Ervin gets ready to eat at Manny's Deli on Jefferson Street. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

For over 7o years, Illinois Democrats have a tradition of getting together at Manny's Deli on Election Day to swap stories, exchange polling information and break bread.

The big picture: This year, there was a last-minute push by one Democrat leader to boycott the lunch over politics, but it didn't work.

  • Several of the state's elected officials and primary candidates stopped by the famous deli to mingle.

What they're saying: "We don't need more division," Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza tells Axios. "This is a place where we can come together, take our gloves off, eat, refuel, and then go back out there and kick butt."

Photo of people eating at a restaurant
The lunch crowd at Manny's on Election Day. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Zoom out: Manny's owner Danny Raskin says he doesn't know when the tradition started, but he has photos of politicians gracing his restaurant on Election Day dating back to the '50s.

The vibe: It's always interesting to see opposing candidates who have attacked each other throughout a campaign come together.

  • "We don't cry in this city," Mendoza tells Axios. "We just go out there and we fight to the last second, but we do love a good pastrami sandwich."
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